While Charlotte music fans were mourning the death of Tremont Music Hall, Double Door Inn and Amos’ Southend, local punk rock musicians Taylor Arthur, Justin Driscoll and Joshua Taddeo knew they needed to do more than grieve.
So they decided to open a rock ‘n’ roll bar.
It was a slow process — “Everywhere we turned, there was a dead end for over a year,” Driscoll said. “Certain people didn’t want the concept.”
But they’re making it happen. Skylark Social Club, located at 2131 Central Ave. in Plaza Midwood, will celebrate a soft opening at 5 p.m. Friday. Patrons should expect local, live music on the weekends and “cheap cold beer and whiskey,” Driscoll said.
The trio said they felt reminiscent for times when local music venues would let their young bands play.
“We all got our start at the other venues around here that treated us like their children,” Taddeo said. “Like ‘OK, we’re going to let you play with this big band, which you should not be doing whatsoever, but we’re going to let you try it.'”
“All the places where local bands could get their start — we kinda wanted a spot that was dedicated to that,” Driscoll said.
Along the way, members of the business community in surrounding neighborhoods pitched in to offer moral support and advice.
Kelly Call, who co-owned Snug Harbor and Tip Top Daily Market before she passed away almost a year ago, sat down with Driscoll once to advise him on all of the positives and negatives of bar ownership.
“She passed away a week later,” Driscoll said. “It was kind of a weird symbolic thing of ‘OK, now we really need to do this.’”
Skylark is named after Arthur’s 1966 Buick, which he plans to keep parked out front under the bar’s signage (which isn’t even up yet; the bar is that new).
The building, which was once Central Station and later The Station, is next door to Midwood Country Club and one block up from McDonald’s.
“People who have been in this neighborhood for a while want to see it grow, but they don’t want to see it grow in the wrong way,” Arthur said.
In fact, the crew saw some concerned postings on Facebook once they heard the building was changing management, including things like “Yuppies are taking over The Station.”
“We had to assure people: What if somebody else came in here who didn’t care about local music or the neighborhood vibe?” Driscoll said.
“What if somebody wanted to come in and make it a dog bar?” Arthur said.
“Or a gluten-free coffee shop?” bar manager Dave Natal said.
“This neighborhood used to be a lot different 10 years ago,” Driscoll said. “We’ve all kind of seen it change. There’s new people coming in, and we don’t want to alienate anybody. We don’t care if you’re black, white, purple, whatever — we want everyone to feel comfortable here.”
“Welcoming, no matter who it is,” Taddeo said. “If it’s a 52-year-old preacher, we would hope that he would be comfortable enough to be in here.”
The full bar will include domestic beers and rotating local brews and ciders. Organic sodas and energy drinks will be available, and drink specials will include $6.50 Jameson and $7 PB&Js (PBR and Jameson). Pop-up music shows and art shows are being planned.
A $1 lifetime membership will be required to get in, available at the door. Hours will be 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday–Friday, and noon-2 a.m. Saturday–Sunday.
“We want it to be a regular neighborhood bar for neighborhood people,” Driscoll said. “It’s going to be a rock ‘n’ roll ‘Cheers.’”